Friday, November 30, 2012

Grateful patients donate $2 million for endowed chair


chief of the Department of Medicine, Bardeesy and Haber

Patients are sometimes so moved by the care they receive that they are inspired to give back so other patients may benefit. On Nov. 19, the MGH celebrated the creation of the John R. Gallagher III and Katherine A. Gallagher Endowed Chair in Gastrointestinal Cancer Research. The chair was made possible through a $2 million gift from the Gallaghers in recognition of the care they received from David P. Ryan, MD, chief of Hematology/Oncology and clinical director of the Tucker Gosnell Center for Gastrointestinal Malignances, and Andrew L. Warshaw, MD, surgeon-in-chief emeritus, namesake of the Warshaw Institute for Pancreatic Cancer Research, and senior consultant in International and Regional Clinical Relations. The first incumbent to the chair is Nabeel M. Bardeesy, PhD, a scientist in the Center for Cancer Research who is internationally known for his work in the field of gastrointestinal cancer.

“On behalf of the MGH trustees, physicians, researchers and staff, I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to John and Kathy Gallagher for making this cancer research chair possible,” said Peter L. Slavin, MD, MGH president. “The Gallaghers are longtime friends of the hospital. Their philanthropy goes back more than 30 years, and they have supported several different areas within the hospital.”

The event, held in the Trustees Room, also included remarks by John Gallagher, Ryan, Warshaw and Bardeesy, as well as Daniel Haber, MD, PhD, director of the Cancer Center.

Bardeesy’s primary research focus is pancreatic and biliary cancer, which are both among the most lethal tumors. He and his team of investigators have developed genetically engineered mouse models to further understand how and why certain gene mutations drive these malignancies. The endowed chair will ensure Bardeesy’s team has the resources to pursue its research, which will help identify new targets for anticancer drugs.

“The support provided by this chair gives us the liberty to use our imagination and to take chances,” says Bardeesy. “One of the areas we will explore will involve collaboration with Cancer Center clinicians and scientists with the aim of developing new and more relevant model systems to identify patient-specific therapies.”  n

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